We sailed by several Spanish forts, out of one of which, St. Mary’s port, came a Don on board us, to whom I showed my Spanish pass, which he signed, and civilly dismissed us. Hence, sailing by another man-of-war, to which we lowered our topsails, we at length arrived at Antwerp.
The lodgings here are very handsome and convenient. I lost little time; but, with the aid of one Mr. Lewkner, our conductor, we visited divers churches, colleges, and monasteries. The Church of the Jesuits is most sumptuous and magnificent; a glorious fabric without and within, wholly incrusted with marble, inlaid and polished into divers representations of histories, landscapes, and flowers. On the high altar is placed the statue of the Blessed Virgin and our Savior in white marble, with a boss in the girdle set with very fair and rich sapphires, and divers other stones of price. The choir is a glorious piece of architecture: the pulpit supported by four angels, and adorned with other carvings, and rare pictures by Rubens, now lately dead, and divers votive tables and relics1.
Hence, to the Vroù Kirk, or Nôtre Dame of Antwerp: it is a very venerable fabric, built after the Gothic manner, especially the tower, which I ascended, the better to take a view of the country adjacent2; which, happening on a day when the sun shone exceedingly bright, and darted his rays without any interruption, afforded so bright a reflection to us who were above, and had a full prospect of both land and water about it, that I was much confirmed in my opinion of the moon’s being of some such substance as this earthly globe: perceiving all the subjacent country, at so small an horizontal distance, to repercuss such a light as I could hardly look against, save where the river, and other large water within our view, appeared of a more dark and uniform color; resembling those spots in the moon supposed to be seas there, according to Hevelius 3, and as they appear in our late telescopes. I numbered in this church thirty privileged altars, that of St. Sebastian adorned with a painting of his martyrdom.
[We went to see the Jerusalem Church, affirmed to have been founded by one who, upon divers great wagers, passed to and fro between that city and Antwerp, on foot, by which he procured large sums of money, which he bestowed on this pious structure.4]
Hence, to St. Mary’s Chapel, where I had some conference with two English Jesuits, confessors to Colonel Jaye’s regiment. These fathers conducted us to the Cloister of Nuns, where we heard a Dutch sermon upon the exposure of the Host. The Senate-house5 of this city is a very spacious and magnificent building.
Evelyn’s standard term for the stadhuis or townhall -source: Vermeer and the Delft School by Axel Rüger. ↩